The Rifleman Report: An Increasingly Dangerous World

posted on January 30, 2024
Winchester Automatic Rifle

It seems the world is at a more precarious juncture than at any time in recent memory—conflict rages in eastern Europe and the Middle East—and some are even suggesting that we could be on the eve of World War III. So it’s no small comfort to know that the domestic arms industry is hard at work meeting the demands not only of the U.S. military and foreign allies but also those of its “bread and butter” market: American civilian shooters engaged in self-defense preparedness, recreation, hunting and competition. Confirmation of that fact came through my recent visit to the National Ass’n Of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) trade show. Though some companies cited a lackluster market resulting from the sluggish economy, most appeared to be forging ahead with wholesale orders.

One positive sign of the times is Springfield Armory’s new series of rimfire bolt-action rifles—an example of which is shown on the cover of our January 2024 issue. They are covered in full in “A Pleasant Surprise: Springfield Model 2020 Rimfires,” by Editorial Director Mark Keefe. Such developments demonstrate how a major U.S. brand can leverage the talents of foreign partners to deliver platforms that meet the needs and desires of American shooters. After all, who wouldn’t want an accurate, good-looking bolt-action rifle chambered for the economical .22 Long Rifle cartridge and available with synthetic or walnut stocks all the way up to AAA grade? Even better, it feeds from 10/22-style rotary magazines, accommodates Model 700-style triggers and starts at not much more than $400.

In “Enhanced: The Taurus Judge Executive Grade,” Field Editor Aaron Carter explores how the well-known Brazilian company has stepped up its game in an effort to offer U.S. consumers another more finely finished example of its popular wheelguns. Not only was the Executive Grade treatment a proven success for the company’s mid-bore 856 model, it now upgrades the groundbreaking .45 Colt/.410-bore Judge. In addition, a sidebar outlines the new T.O.R.O. revolvers, which are factory-made to accept miniature red-dot optics.

And, in our continued effort to illustrate the many ways in which the armed citizen can effectively carry a handgun discreetly, Senior Executive Editor Kelly Young takes a look at several less-conventional options in “Always Have A ‘Plan B’: Alternative Carry Methods”—in this case, shoulder rigs, belly bands and ankle holsters. It is a well-considered piece laced with useful firsthand observations about the pros and cons of each method, and it should prove thought-provoking for any concealed carrier—whether a newbie or a veteran.

Field Editor Bruce Canfield examines the history of a unique project undertaken by one of the oldest names in American firearms in “WAR: The Winchester Automatic Rifle.” According to the author, the proprietary, selective-fire service rifle, which was “finely engineered and meticulously crafted,” may have become a serious competitor to the well-established Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) if it had been more fully developed prior to the close of World War II.

Whether for plinking or small-game hunting with a rimfire bolt-action, practicing at targets with a new wheelgun that may one day have to be employed for self-defense, figuring out the best way to carry your everyday handgun or simply learning about a combat arm that amounted to not much more than a historical footnote, you should find this issue both enjoyable and informative.

As you relax with it, bear in mind that your support of the National Rifle Association is an important part of the overall effort by freedom-loving Americans to preserve every citizen’s right to keep and bear arms in an increasingly dangerous world.


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